Legal research has always been a persistent piece of the law practice. The background of legal research can be summed up in one word known as books. Earlier, legal research was managed manually using a law library, periodicals, indexes, books, and digests. With the growing digitization and introduction of the World Wide Web, digitization has been introduced into the area of legal research software.
Eventually, the introduction of the Internet led database companies to start incorporating internet connectivity into their software, which led to the foundation for the establishment of computerized legal research. This made legal databases for legal research software more accessible to people, lawyers, students, and paralegals. The growing integration of advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) in the legal industry is uplifting legal research software to new levels.
What is Legal Research Software?
Legal research software allows legal professionals to access and search databases of legal documents. Legal research in the current context is majorly dependent on Computer Assisted Legal Research (CALR). CALR technology allows judges, academicians, lawyers, and students to detour the traditional law library and locate court cases, and other legal documents in minutes through research software, personal computer, and an online connection.
Legal research software is the evolution in legal tech that allows legal professionals to search and access databases of legal documents, which include legal records, statutes, case law, and more. It helps the legal department and professionals find useful information for drafting documents and building cases. It allows law firms to analyze and assess the data and compile it for use in cases.
Legal research software reduces research times for legal professionals by offering extensive research on cases, laws, and documents. It also provides insights and data-driven figures about opposing counsel, which helps law firms win the case.
What is the Importance of Legal Research Software in the Legal Industry?
Legal research software is responsible for changing the environment of the legal industry and legal research. Legal research software provides law firms flexibility, less structured, less stable, more versatile, and volatile environment in the field of legal research. Legal research software plays a vital role in the legal industry. We’ll discuss a few of the importance of legal research software in detail below.
- Enhanced accessibility: Legal research software works on larger databases that execute searches in numerous databases thus legal professionals using such database software, are inclined to produce a greater variety of jurisdictions. Legal research software provides a huge range of documents including state case law and federal laws, law reviews, treatises, codes and regulations, mainstream news stories, scholarly articles, public records, and attorney directories, enhancing accessibility.
- Time-Efficient: Legal research software is a time-efficient system for legal researchers. It helps legal departments and professionals to solve a greater amount of cases in a given amount of time. It nullifies the delay between the creation of case law and its incorporation into print sources.
- Enhanced Accuracy: Legal research software offers more accurate data than traditional methods because of the wide availability of sources for validating purposes. Artificial intelligence and natural language processing help legal software systems tackle any irregularities in documents.
Why Cloud-based Legal Research Software is Widely Adopted?
Legal research software comes under cloud-based and on-premises software. Cloud-based software marked its presence due to the major benefits over on-premises software. We will look into a few of the benefits of cloud-based software below.
a. Cost-Effective: The cloud is cost-effective software that allows easy access to important data. Most cloud-based services offer a subscription model, which allows legal professionals to pay for features they want. Legal professionals majorly pay for the data storage space based on cloud software as they deal with several cases. This in turn results in lower costs.
b. Enhanced Data Security: The legal industry relies on data security as clients trust law firms to protect their personal data, proprietary information, and trade secrets. Cloud-based legal research software offers greater data security to law firms. Cloud-based software monitors private documents and ensures security for confidential files.
c. Insights: Cloud-based legal research storage solutions offer integrated cloud analytics for generating insights. It analyzes information and builds customized reports for legal professionals by implementing tracking mechanisms.
How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Course of Legal Research Software?
AI has become an integral part of the software industry and legal research is not an exception from that. AI-enabled legal research software can help legal professionals do work efficiently, allowing them to spend more time negotiating with opposing counsel and counseling clients. Artificial Intelligence in legal research software is used to crawl and pull information from a large database. AI-powered legal research software is now being generative, creating new and original content for legal professionals and law firms.
Currently, there are various legal research software that utilizes extractive AI and generative AI capabilities are estimated to become increasingly available in the coming years. Below are some AI-powered legal research software discussed in detail,
- Lexis+: Lexis+ is an AI-powered legal research software, introduced in 2020. This software is loaded with features such as integrated data visualizations, natural language search, and Shepard’s citation service, which help legal professionals work efficiently and assist attorneys in a specific aspect of a workflow.
- Context: Context is an AI-enabled judicial analytics tool. It analyzes language a judge uses in court and provides insights to lawyers to pinpoint the types of arguments a judge majorly finds most persuasive.
- Legal Assist AI: It is an AI-powered software designed for law firms and legal professionals. It offers legal research automation, case management, collaborative tools, and contract analysis, to streamline workflows of legal professionals.
Legal research software has undeniably revolutionized the legal research process, offering significant benefits in terms of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and accuracy. As technology continues to advance, legal research software will likely become even more advanced, addressing some of its current limitations. For now, legal professionals stand to benefit greatly from embracing these tools, as they enable them to be more productive, informed, and competitive in a rapidly evolving legal landscape.